Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fame, At Last: 'Bullet' Bob Hayes Finally Elected To Hall of Fame

Nick Eatman - Email Staff Writer
January 31, 2009 2:25 PM

He was once tagged the World's Fastest Human. He has also been credited for changing the way football was played. He has a Super Bowl ring, an Olympic gold medal and a spot in the Cowboys' Ring of Honor.

Yet until Saturday, Bob Hayes' accomplishments have not been complete.

But that changed in Tampa when the "Bullet" was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with five other players on Saturday, the eve of Super Bowl XLIII.

The 2009 Hall of Fame class will include the late Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Ralph Wilson Jr., Rod Woodson and Derrick Thomas. Woodson and Smith were the only two first-year eligible candidates to make it. The official induction will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 8.

Hayes passed away in 2002 after a battle with prostate cancer and liver ailments, nearly a month after he was able to witness his induction into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium.

Hayes also was a finalist for the Hall of Fame in 2004, as one of the automatic finalist candidates picked by the Senior Committee. However, Hayes didn't receive the necessary 80-percent vote on that day.

But five years later, Hayes finally got his call in his home state of Florida.

"I think not only did he bring speed and a great sense of humor, but I think he brought a change, and I think that change was felt all around the world," said Hayes' sister, Lucille Hester, who also read an emotional Hall of Fame acceptance letter written by Hayes in 1999, three years before his death. "Hopefully that change caused an impact that his legacy will always entail. He changed the revolution of the (zone) defense. I think he left that. I think he left hope for others, other pigeon-toed boys on the east side of Jacksonville running up and down the streets. I think that’s what he left and his impact was great."

Hayes was one of two senior candidates this year, along with Claude Humphrey. However, Humphrey was the only finalist among the seven not to get inducted.

Hayes becomes the ninth former Cowboys player to make the Hall of Fame, joining Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Bob Lilly, Randy White, Mel Renfro, Rayfield Wright, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. The Cowboys are also represented in Canton by legendary head coach Tom Landry and former president and general manager Tex Schramm.

The Cowboys have been rather busy producing Hall of Famers here recently. There was a 10-year gap of Cowboys making the Hall between Renfro's induction in 1996 and Aikman and Wright being inducted in 2006. Irvin joined them the following year, making the Hall in 2007.

"This is a deserving honor for one of the Cowboys' most and truly gifted stars," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "We all know he changed the game on the field, but he also brought a unique star quality to the NFL that helped make professional football the most popular sport in the world. He was a world champion in two different sports, and he had a world class heart. I couldn't be happier for Bob, he was always one of my personal favorites.

"This is a great day for Bob Hayes' legacy, his family and the Dallas Cowboys."

Hayes gives the Cowboys four former players in a four-year span, and that will certainly improve to five in five years when Emmitt Smith gets inducted in 2010 as a first-time inductee.

But this day, this year, was all about Hayes, who joins Irvin as the only receivers in Cowboys history to make the Hall of Fame.

From the sound of things, Irvin doesn't mind sharing the honor.

"It's a guy that I spent many days with in an apartment when I first got to Dallas, getting to know him and talking to him about the game and talking to him about him," Irvin said. "Talking to him about bouncing back from difficult times before I knew I'd go through some of the difficult things that I've gone through. He helped me in those matters even before I went through it. Just to be here today and be able to celebrate with his family and everybody here is huge for me."

Hayes won the 100 meters gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo with a world record of 10.0 seconds. He also helped win another gold medal that year in the 4x100 meter relay, which also produced a new world record at the time of 39.06 seconds.

Those feats helped Hayes earn the nickname "World's Fastest Human." But Hayes also became the first pure speed wide receiver in the NFL and changed the way defenses covered receivers. Because of his track-star speed, Hayes was the reason defenses started applying the zone defenses.

Hayes was a member of the Cowboys' Super Bowl VI winning team in 1971 and finished his career with 71 touchdown catches, which remains a Cowboys career record. Hayes is currently fourth in club history in receiving yards with 7,295 and he ranks seventh with 365 catches.

He has three of the Cowboys' 10 longest pass receptions, including the longest -- a 95-yard reception against Washington in 1966 -- and also ranks second in club history with an 11.1-yard average on punt returns, with three career touchdowns.

"You can get guys that have numbers and say he deserves it," Irvin said. "You can get guys that have rings and say that he deserves it. You can even have guys with a number of rings and see if he's a Hall of Famer or not. But when you have guys you had to change the game for, all these other rods or measuring things in catches, touchdowns, wins, Super Bowls and Pro Bowls are good.

"Understand this -- when you get those very few guys that they had to go into a room and come up with an idea of how to do something about this person, that's a Hall of Famer. That's got to be a Hall of Famer."

At last.

Cowboys get rid of Texas Stadium star

IRVING, Texas (AP) - The undisputed star of Texas Stadium has left the field.

Crews on Friday rolled up the star section of blue artificial turf, about 30 feet by 30 feet, as part of plans to remove and sell items from the former home of the Dallas Cowboys.

John Linville of Hellas Construction says the company laid the latest artificial field in 2002, including the more than 1-ton section of the star.

The star graced the 50-yard line at Texas Stadium, which hosted its final Cowboys game on Dec. 20, a 33-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Cowboys this year will inaugurate their $1.2 billion retractable-roof stadium in Arlington.

An online auction was held to sell items, such as an American flag hanging in the stadium that went for $850. A Cowboys helmet golf cart sold for $12,500.

Some fans on Friday picked up items they had purchased.

Should the Cowboys trade for Anquan Boldin?

by Calvin Watkins

Say the Cowboys cut ties with Terrell Owens this spring. Should the team work a deal and get Arizona's Anquan Boldin?

The problem of course is the lack of a first round pick to offer Arizona. The Cowboys have nine draft picks available to trade. They gave up three picks including a first rounder to Detroit last fall to get Roy Williams.

Jerry Jones said he doubts the team will be a player in free agency and expects teams to reach out to him regarding trading for one of his many picks.

However, the Cowboys could rid themselves of Owens and maybe get Boldin in return. The catch of course is do you rework Boldin's deal, he has two years remaining, or do you let him play it out?

Boldin most likely would want a new deal, which is what the Cowboys did with Williams when they traded for him.
Is Boldin and Williams a better combination than Williams and Owens?

T.O.'s Tampa Forecast: Cardinals

Published: January 31, 2009

TAMPA - At the Hyde Park Cafe, a couple of dozen fans, the vast majority men, waited for Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Terrell Owens to arrive Thursday night. They milled about as Grand Master Flash blasted from the speakers.

A few platters of food sat mostly untouched.

Four words describe the banquet: Pigs in a blanket.

Sometime after 9, T.O. showed up, accompanied by a rather beefy, yet friendly bodyguard.

Shaking hands, laughing with fans, he predicted a Cardinal victory.

"It's pretty much a toss-up," he said. "You have a team with a good defense and a so-so offense and a team with a high-powered offense and not much defense. If things go well, it will break for the Cardinals."

Owens, who had a well-publicized feud with Jeff Garcia when both played for the Niners, shied away from talking about events at One Buc Place.

"I don't want to comment on Tampa Bay," he said. "The Buccaneers are not my concern."

Answering a question relayed by News Channel 8 reporter Sam Sodos, Owens said the huge diamonds in each earlobe never hurt during games.

"They make me shine a little more," he said. "They make me more of a star."

Super Bowl standings: top 10 teams

Posted by Mike Farley (01/31/2009 @ 8:25 am)

The Super Bowl has been played since the 1966 season, so while NFL championships before that are not irrelevant, many records are based on the “Super Bowl era.” And while some teams have a great track record in Super Bowls (49ers), there are others that have awful records (Vikings, Bills). Here is a list of the Top 10 teams record-wise (based primarily on wins) in the Super Bowl era…..

1. San Francisco 49ers (5-0)—The 49ers are undefeated in Super Bowl history, and when you have guys like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice and Steve Young leading the way, it’s easy to see how that happens. But these teams were deep on both offense and defense, and were coached by Bill Walsh and George Seifert. What might be even more remarkable is that the Niners have scored 188 points while giving up 89 in those five games, a 99-point differential. Truly, ahem, super.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1)—The Steelers are looking to become the first team to win six Super Bowls this Sunday in Tampa against the Cardinals and the second one in the Ben Roethlisberger era. They are already one of the NFL’s premier franchises, but more is always better when it comes to championships.

3. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)—The Cowboys have a rich history of winning, but in today’s what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL, all anyone remembers is that they haven’t won a playoff game since 1996, and that dysfunction follows them around like tabloids following QB Tony Romo.

4. Green Bay Packers (3-1)—You might immediately think of Brett Favre, but he is only 1-1 in Super Bowls. The other two were Super Bowls I and II, when Bart Starr was the Packers’ QB and the coach was the legendary Vince Lombardi.

5. New York Giants (3-1)—The Giants climbed up a few notches with that improbable upset of the Patriots last season. Bill Parcells has two of the wins, one with Phil Simms at the helm and the other with Jeff Hostetler—and both with one of the greatest defensive players in history, Lawrence Taylor, terrorizing the other teams’ quarterbacks.

6. Oakland/LA Raiders (3-2)—It’s been about a quarter century since the Raiders won a Super Bowl, or around the same time Al Davis started to lose his marbles.

7. Washington Redskins (3-2)—The Redskins lost to Miami in Super Bowl 7, 14-7, to cap Miami’s (and the NFL’s only) perfect season, and have had mixed results since then, last appearing in 1991 when they beat Buffalo. Hard to believe it’s been almost 20 years since their last Super Bowl, but Dan Snyder makes Al Davis type decisions at times, so the drought could be long.

8. New England Patriots (3-3)—Have the Patriots have lost as many Super Bowls as they’ve won? Yes, when you realize the first two losses were to the mighty ’85 Bears, and to the unstoppable Favre/Holmgren Packers in ’96.

9. Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (2-1)—You would think Peyton Manning should have more than one Super Bowl appearance, but that very fact was the big knock on him until he got his ring two years ago.

10. Miami Dolphins (2-3)—It’s been 25 years since the D-men have been in the big game, but mark my words…with Bill Parcells at the helm, this team will get back there within a few years, maybe even next year.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Whisenhunt recalls '08 Cowboys as 'Super Bowl team'

By USAToday Sports

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt couldn't help but jab at the preseason prognosticators who projected the Cowboys as the NFC's Super Bowl representative.

Recalling Arizona's 30-24 win against Dallas on Oct. 12, Whisenhunt referred to the Cowboys as a "Super Bowl team."

Many preseason projectors (including this author) were high on Dallas at the season's start. When the teams met in Week 6, the Cardinals (then 3-2) didn't look like much of a threat.

But Sean Morey blocked a Cowboys punt in overtime that the Cardinals recovered in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown.

"It was a big game for us," Whisenhunt said. "It gave us confidence against a team that a lot of people thought was very good.

"There was a lot of talk about them in the preseason and how good they were and how they could go to the Super Bowl. That was a big game for us."

And while the Cardinals used the win as a springboard to their first NFC title, the game heightened the Cowboys' fall from grace.

Dallas QB Tony Romo broke his pinkie finger in that game, which forced him out of the next three games.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Diner Morning News

By Michael Lombardi

QUOTE: “If pa’s eyes were windows into a world so deadly and true, You couldn’t stop me from looking but you kept me from crawlin’ through, And if it’s a funny old world, mama, where a little boy’s wishes come true, Well I got a few in my pocket and a special one just for you.” ~ “THE WISH,” FROM BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN FOR HIS MOTHER

FROM TODD ARCHER OF THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS… Nowadays, Roger Staubach’s mind is filled more with his business ventures and the 2011 Super Bowl in Arlington, but he will always be a Cowboy. Staubach, a Hall of Fame quarterback, is still pained by the 44-6 pasting Philadelphia put on the Cowboys to end the 2008 season. “I was unbelievably disappointed watching that Eagles game,” he said Thursday from Tampa, where he is taking in the sights and sounds as the chairman of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. “I’ve never been so upset, because it just wasn’t going to happen. It just seemed like they almost gave up in the second half.” … “I feel there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the locker room that should stay in the locker room,” Staubach said. “It’s a shame, because I think the distractions really have hurt the team.”

I just do not get this team. The past month, the Cowboys have talked about commitment and about becoming dedicated, and then we hear that T.O. will have a reality show, with the owner making a guest appearance. Does anyone have a clue? How can this keep happening? I know football is part of the entertainment business, but when you lose sight of the essence of the business, you lose your business. The Cowboys are paid to entertain on the field, not off the field. They have lost their focus on what matters most. It’s one thing to have a player who acts bizarrely and craves attention, but to have others follow him down the road — and encourage him — is wrong.

Football requires attention to detail, and it requires everyone to put away his personal goals for the team. The Cowboys have become poster children for what not to do when building a team. I just do not get it, and I have no hope for them turning this around.

WR Roy Williams elaborates on difference between practices in Detroit and Dallas

by Tim MacMahon

Coachable WR Roy Williams mentioned on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning that the Lions practiced harder than the Cowboys. He elaborated during this afternoon's Ben & Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan.

"The practices in Detroit are a lot more difficult than they are in Dallas," Williams said. "Rod Marinelli had us moving at a faster tempo. The receivers were blocking downfield after every run and every catch, no matter who ran the ball or who caught the ball. We called it convoy. Obviously, we were getting conditioning in at the same time. That's why I felt like it was more of a difficult practice in Detroit than it is in Dallas."

Does that need to happen at Valley Ranch?

"I tried to do it when I first got here, but none of the guys were catching on, so I felt like an idiot running out there by myself," Williams said. "So I quit doing it, but I'm going to start that back up come the off-season work. If people come with me, fine. If they don't, I'm going to get my work in. It's my time to be a leader on this football team."

As I mentioned earlier, it's interesting that Williams is the one complaining about the Cowboys' easy practices. However, more power to him if he wants to work harder.

Oh, yeah, he also wants the ball much more often.

"I didn't get the kind of touches that I thought was going to happen," said Williams, who had 19 catches for 198 yards and one TD in nine games for the Cowboys. "It wasn't a tough transition. I think a lot of people are trying to make excuses that I didn't know the plays or whatever. The playbook is pretty much all the same stuff. I had that thing down within two weeks. ...

"I was ready to go. Unfortunately, I just didn't get many opportunities this year. Hopefully, that can change next year."

Williams avoided pinning the blame on Jason Garrett or Tony Romo. He opted for both.

"If the coordinator wanted to get the ball to me, he could. And the same thing with the quarterback," Williams said. "I just do my part, beat the guy and put it on film and show the coordinator that I can run routes and win in this league. Unfortunately, that didn't happen this year. Hopefully, it can happen next year."

Roy Williams takes turn at ripping Garrett's offense

Terrell Owens, Tony Romo and now receiver Roy Williams. He has jumped on the Jason Garrett bashing bandwagon. In a radio interview Thursday with a Washington D.C. station (ESPN 980), Williams took offense to Garrett's offense and how he was used.
"I thought with me and T.O. out there, I thought that was just like Fitz (Larry Fitzgerald) and (Anquan) Boldin out there, but I don't think they used us correctly this past season. But hopefully this season with training camp under our belt we can all get on the same page and win some ball games."

Are you OK with Garrett?

"I am cool with Garrett, I just hope that he uses me a little more. I know what I can do in this league. I have a proven track record. I think have some pretty good hands to catch the ball. So I think he can use me a little bit more."

Williams had just 19 catches for 198 yards and one TD this season in 10 games after the trade.

"The ball just never came my way. I was never the featured guy for the ball to come my way," he said.

Williams added that his plantar fasciitis was not that big of a problem for him and he was able to consistently get open. You believe that?

"The foot didn't ever slow me down," Williams said. "I think that was more of an excuse for others to use. But going into this season there won't be any excuses."
Interesting comment here considering Wade Phillips said he was slowed by the injury and it was part of the reason for his low production. Not according to Roy. Sounds like Roy is saying that's an excuse the team was using for his minimal impact.
This year Williams said he is going to voice himself more after staying quiet for the most part when he arrived this season.

- Rick Herrin


Posted by Aaron Wilson on January 30, 2009, 11:46 a.m. EST

NFL franchises have an upcoming window to either use the franchise tag or the transition tag to lock up their unrestricted free agents, beginning Feb. 5 with a Feb. 19 deadline.

Keep in mind when a team uses the franchise tag or transition tag, it’s a one-year tender offer of a high base salary paid during the season and includes no signing bonus. So, every dollar counts against that year’s cap.

According to a National Football Post article and, which published the numbers first, here are the respective franchise and transition numbers for each position as the free agent signing period approaches on Feb. 27:

The quarterback franchise number is $14.65 million and the transition figure is $12.44 million.
The wide receiver franchise number is $9.88 million and the transition figure is $8.39 million.
The offensive line franchise number is $8.45 million and the transition figure is $7.74 million.
The running back franchise number is $6.62 million and the transition figure is $5.92 million.
The tight end franchise number is $4.46 million and the transition figure is $4.07 million.
The defensive end franchise number is $8.99 million and the transition figure is $7.78 million.
The defensive tackle franchise number is $6.06 million and the transition figure is $5.45 million.
The linebacker franchise number is $8.3 million and the transition figure is $7.48 million.
The safety franchise number is $6.34 million and the transition figure is $5.13 million.
The cornerback franchise number is $9.96 million and the transition figure is $8.37 million.
And the franchise number for a punter/kicker is $2.48 million and $2.26 million for a transition figure.
Hey, I’d gladly settle for that special-teams money. Is it too late for me to learn how to kick?

Cowboys, Lions keeping Thanksgiving tradition...for 2009

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised that the Cowboys and the Lions will continue their Thanksgiving tradition this season, but he made no promises beyond 2009. In his annual state of the league address Friday, Goodell said alternating the site of the Thanksgiving Day games could be discussed.

Some owners have complained that by hosting a Thanksgiving game every year, the Cowboys and the Lions have a competitive advantage.

"I do understand it's a great tradition in Detroit and Dallas," Goodell said.
Goodell was asked about the ice strom in North Texas this week, two years before the Super Bowl arrives.

"I did notice that," Goodell said to laughter.

He added that the league understood the risk in awarding the game to North Texas and is hoping for good weather for Super Bowl XLV.

- Charean Williams


Posted by Aaron Wilson on January 30, 2009, 8:52 a.m.

Count Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach among the frustrated, the flustered, the flummoxed and the furious. In other less alliterative words, Staubach is just like the rest of the fans of America’s Team.

The pain of watching the Cowboys’ epic collapse in a 44-6 rout against the Philadelphia Eagles to end a disastrous season hasn’t faded for Staubach, who suggested that the ‘Boys pretty much quit in the second half. For a former NFL player to hint that his former team quit is a big-time indictment of a team’s character.
“I was unbelievably disappointed watching that Eagles game,” Staubach told the Dallas Morning News. ”I’ve never been so upset, because it just wasn’t going to happen. It just seemed like they almost gave up in the second half.

“I feel there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the locker room that should stay in the locker room. It’s a shame, because I think the distractions have really hurt the team.”

Staubach isn’t alone in his stinging assessment.

“On paper, they should win a Super Bowl, but looking at it, there’s a lack of dedication, a lack of accountability,” former Cowboys star Mel Renfro said. “They act like spoiled rotten kids. I’m sure some guys do give their all, but you can’t play with a couple of guys. You’ve got to play as a team.”

Addressing the controversies involving quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Terrell Owens, Staubach noted that his receivers used to gripe, too.

“But it didn’t leave the locker room, or it didn’t leave the huddle,” Staubach said. “You can do that in a way where you’re still a team player. You don’t broadcast it. If I was Tony Romo, I would have been upset with that, being accused.
“Now you’re dropping back to throw, and you’re over there [thinking]. You can’t do that. You’ve got to throw it to the person that you feel is going to make the play for you, and they’re all good receivers.”

Of course, Romo could stand for some improvement, too. Yet, Staubach still believes that Romo will eventually put it all together.

“There’s certain quarterbacks that, no matter how they’ve played, how bad they’ve played, you know and feel they’re going to figure it out,” Staubach said. “And I have not felt that way about a Dallas Cowboy quarterback since Troy Aikman. And I do feel that way about Romo … When I see Tony play, I just figure he’s going to figure out how to do it.”

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Player Update: Martellus Bennett, TE


According to the Dallas Morning News, Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett released an apology for his recent expletive-filled rant via You Tube, whereby he claims the media is to blame for blowing the situation completely out of proportion.

Our View: Bennett may get the chance to showcase his off-the-field talents on cable television when cameras begin rolling for teammate Terrell Owens' new reality show. The first installment of "Marty TV," wherein Bennett likens his financial assets to that of owner Jerry Jones, has been reportedly pulled from You Tube. Looks like the Cowboys are none too happy with the second-year tight end's offseason regimen.

Martellus Bennett has been fined $22,000 for his derogatory YouTube video, according to the Dallas Morning News. Bennett said, "I should not cuss that much. I have been listening to [rapper] Too Short too much."

Our View: This incident should blow over by training camp, and Bennett should serve as Jason Witten's primary backup in 2009.

AUDIO: Gil Lebreton on GAC talks Dan Reeves

DC.COM Blog: Salary Cap stuff

by Calvin Watkins

The NFLPA announced today that the salary cap for 2009 will be $123 million, up from $116 million.

So where does that leave the Cowboys?

Well, the team salary for the 2009 season is projected at $121 million, second most in the NFC East. That number can change, higher or lower, if the team releases players and signs them. Washington has the most at $128 million. The Cowboys are under the cap but are working to get about $7 million to $10 million underneath it by the time the 2009 season begins.

Cutting some players and restructuring current deals will help in the process.

FWST: Galloway: Jason Witten just another victim of Dallas Cowboys’ toxic locker room


TAMPA, Fla. — Go ahead, "rat" this:

A question here Wednesday for Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten:
Did any of your so-called teammates, who did a lot of media whispering, actually ever go face-to-face and call you "a rat"?

"No," answered Witten. "Nothing even remotely close to that was ever said. If anything, when all that stuff was flying around, what I got personally was teammates being very supportive."

Hypocrites and idiots roam freely in the locker room at Valley Ranch. But until December, Witten was one of those team members considered far above the line that separates the manly from the lower form of humanity.

Then, however, his good name was also sucked into the cesspool, as the team imploded internally.

Obviously, there’s only a couple of reasons for any member of the Cowboys to be visiting in Tampa this week, and football is not involved. Otherwise, there’s the Super Bowl party scene, or in the case of Witten, he was here to receive a high honor.

Among eight finalists from players around the league (such as Kurt Warner, Brian Dawkins
, Andre Johnson, Amani Toomer, etc.), he was named The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP for his positive impact in the local community through charitable programs and contributions.

At least it was a positive way for Witten to wrap up a rough season, both personally and team-wise.

"To go through the injuries I had, well, that was a big disappointment personally," he said, "but after six seasons of trying to maintain high standards on and off the field, to be placed in the middle of what else was going on, it was embarrassing."

Or to be blunter, Witten added, "It pissed me off. What happened with our team, that was a personal burden for me and everyone else. But the other stuff, now that hurt deeply. I kept asking myself, 'How do you handle it?’

"You think you have played the game the right way for six years, and with no hidden agendas at any time, then I’m caught up in something totally different. It was a bad place to be. You feel helpless."

In December, of course, a volatile locker room was rocked by off-the-record quotes given to a national dot-com writer, quotes that centered around one Eldorado Owens.

Those teammates who are supportive of Owens, and that’s a sizable number, unleashed the whispers that Witten was the unnamed teammate saying it. Or the "rat." Except some of those saying it were the same Tony Romo backstabbers who were making the quarterback the culprit for a bad season. The resulting toxic chemical locker-room spill lingers into the off-season.

"I was not involved," Witten said. "But I still got caught up in it. Tony and I got placed in the middle of it."

Again, however, it was only in behind-the-back whispers. No one personally confronted Witten with "rat" charges.

But with the Cowboys still in a state of off-season turmoil, Jerry Jones seems dug in, meaning he will not attempt to change the climate by making major changes.

Can 2009 be any different with the softy, Wade Phillips, as head coach, and Owens as the off-season reality TV show poster child?

"A lot is being said about our lack of chemistry and leadership," noted Witten, "but all that can be solved by winning. Now, can we win? I believe so. You don’t need a bunch of choirboys in a locker room, but you do need players who are accountable, players who place an emphasis on the team concept."

Can the Cowboys’ locker room provide enough of those players?

"Yes, definitely," Witten said. "We have competitive guys, including Terrell. We have a head coach who is competitive. But things need to change when it comes to leadership roles, and in the area of team chemistry."

What about work ethic? What about a lack of discipline? What about the locker-room whispers that even Romo had bad practice habits? Is that true?

"No," answered Witten, firmly. "Anyone saying that is flat wrong. As Tony goes, so goes this team. Tony is competitive, and he’s driven. We can all play better, Tony included. But to say his problems involved work ethic, anyone who knows Tony knows that’s not true."

Witten claims he looks to 2009 with optimism, even if the same cast of characters return.

Excuse me for totally disagreeing. It’s a team that needs more Wittens and a lot fewer rats.

AUDIO: Greg Ellis on 105.3...says 'Gel and Chemistry' a problem - 1/28/09

Where have all the Cowboys gone? To reality TV

Source: Miami Hurricane
By Matt Mullin // Contributing Writer

With the Super Bowl this weekend, let’s pause to look at one of the more bizarre stories to come out of the ever-growing and ever-popular NFL.

In a league of so many great characters and personalities, it is rare to find a team overwhelmed with negativity. These outlaws of the NFL belong on no other team than the one – most appropriately – named the Dallas Cowboys.

Many wonder where the problems surrounding the team have come from, and, more importantly, who is to blame. Is it the players, the coach, the ownership? A simple answer is, as singer Ben Harper put it, “just look up and you will see what’s coming down.”

When Cowboys fans look up their company tree, I can’t blame them for running from what they see. High atop this tree, one of the tallest in the NFL, sits Jerry Jones.

Anyone who knows about football knows that Jones is from the same stock as George Steinbrenner of the Yankees. They are both loaded with old money and aren’t afraid to spend it.

Even more frightening for Cowboys fans are his striking similarities to Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. With ideas like “as long as we’re making headlines we’re making money,” how can anyone be surprised that the Cowboys signed two of the most controversial athletes in the sport, Terrell Owens and Adam “Pacman” Jones.

The perennial antics of Owens, while somewhat a distraction to his team, cannot hold a match to Jones’ fire. After several run-ins with the law, the Cowboys decided that the risk off the field wasn’t paying off on the field, and the Cowboys released Jones earlier this month.

Don’t despair; Jones can still be seen on Fox. However, this time he is running from the police on Cops rather then chasing down receivers. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, famously a pop-singer addict, can be found on Entertainment Tonight during the off-season.

Terrell Owens, however, is trying to make a full-on transition into reality television. Move over Jesse “The Bachelor” Palmer, here comes Terrell “I Have a Feminine Side” Owens.

A new reality series, set to be filmed this summer and air on VH1 sometime after, will star Owens and his two best friends/publicists, Monique Jackson and Kita Williams. The two will play matchmaker for him and help him re-examine his life.

VH1 must have taken notice of Owens after he was prominently featured in the HBO series Hard Knocks, which documented the Cowboys training camp last summer.

After seeing the way the previous three seasons ended for the Cowboys, I don’t think this is the best time for more distractions, Mr. Jones. If you are really interested in winning more games and not just selling more T.O. jerseys, I think you need to get some different people in the front office before your fans tear that new stadium down.

Cowboys Work Out 19 Players Wednesday


The roads here in Dallas might have been too icy for some people to get to work, but it didn’t stop about 20 NFL hopefuls from showing up at Valley Ranch here on Wednesday for a tryout with the Cowboys.

The club worked out 19 players, none of which have much of any NFL experience at all. The names probably aren’t very common, that is unless you’re a big fan of the Arena Football League.

The Cowboys did work out two recognizable AFL guys in Philadelphia defensive back Eddie Moten and Georgia wide receiver Troy Bergeron. Five other players here today have AFL experience as well.

Of the 19 players, there is at least one at every position, excluding special teams.
The Cowboys did work out a quarterback in former William & Mary standout Mike Potts, along with running backs Mike Castellano (Monmouth) and Gilbert Harris (Arizona).
As of Wednesday, the Cowboys have not made any new roster moves.

Here’s a list of the 19 players that worked out for the Cowboys on Wednesday:

Troy Bergeron, WR, No college
Airese Currie, WR, Clemson
Brooks Little, WR, South Dakota
Donovan Morgan, WR, Louisiana-Lafayette
Terrance Nunn, WR, Nebraska
Terry Moss, WR, Ball State
Mike Byrne, C, Monmouth
Jake Helms, OL, Lenoir Rhyne
Van Nelson, OL, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Mike Castellano, RB, Monmouth
Gilbert Harris, RB, Arizona
Mike Potts, QB, William & Mary
Aaron Williams, DB, Cal-Poly
Darien Williams, DB, Oklahoma
Bryan Bonner, DB, TCU
Eddie Moten, DB, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Arlen Johnson, DL, Shippenberg
John Syptak, DE, Rice
Kelvin Morris, LB, West Georgia

Greg Ellis: Bad coaching decisions create distractions for Cowboys

by Tim MacMahon

Believe it or not, Greg Ellis is kind of grumpy about his role. He made that pretty clear during an interview on 105.3 The Fan's Ben and Skin Show this afternoon.

Ellis isn't pleased that Anthony Spencer plays the vast majority of first and second downs now. And Ellis is still perturbed that, when he did play in the base defense last season, he spent a lot of time dropping back in coverage instead of rushing the passer.

Of course, Ellis is far from the only Cowboy who isn't happy with the way the coaches use him. And there's apparently a lot of questioning the coaches in the Valley Ranch locker room.

"Do I think that creates a distraction for guys when they feel like certain players aren't used correctly?" Ellis said. "Yes, I think it does.

"I think it affects our team. I don't have to throw T.O.'s name into it, because he's a man who can speak for himself. But just my own personal experiences from last year, I'd say yes."

Ellis, a perennial pessimist, doesn't see drastic changes coming to Dallas. He pointed out that Wade Phillips would return, so the direction wouldn't change much.

Maybe Ellis isn't a believer in Wade's Get Tough Plan. Or perhaps he hasn't heard about it, since the head coach didn't address the team before the players began their off-season.

Oh, and Ellis doesn't know whether his days with the Cowboys are done. He'd count $6.25 million against the salary cap next season, which he pointed out is a lot for a situational player, so he expects to be released or asked to restructure his contract.

Is he OK with playing the pass-rushing specialist role next season?

"I love playing football. I'll just leave it at that," Ellis said after some hemming and hawing. "I love playing football and want to be in the mix in some real, gametime situations that give me and my team a chance to get the best of Greg Ellis."

Ellis and Phillips obviously don't see eye-to-eye on how to get the best of Greg Ellis.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AUDIO: 'Clark Kent' aka Witten thinks T.O. is coming back -1/28/09

AUDIO: Witten on Irvin Show - 1/28/09

Witten wins NFL charity award

Cowboys Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten does a lot of great things in the community. He was recognized for his dedication by winning the league's Home Depot Neighborhood MVP.

Witten, who is in Tampa to receive the award, was one of eight finalists and received notice because of his work with the SCORE Foundation which provides assistance to victims of domestic violence. He also helped with a playground build at a local charter school.

- Rick Herrin

DMN Blog: Dolphins offered John Beck to Cowboys

by Tim MacMahon

The Miami Herald reports that the Miami brass has mentioned to the Cowboys that third-string QB John Beck is on the market.

The Dolphins last week again asked the Cowboys if they're interested in John Beck (there was no definitive answer) and made clear the third-string quarterback is available.

Should the Cowboys be interested? We'll assume the Dolphins are asking for a mid- to late-round pick for Beck, who was drafted in the 2007 second round. You could make the case that Beck is better than any QB the Cowboys can get during the second day of this draft, which has a weak crop of passers.

But Beck clearly hasn't impressed Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano. The BYU product is also 27 years old, so he's not a guy who can be groomed to be Tony Romo's successor. Is Beck an upgrade over Brooks Bollinger?

QB John Beck to Dallas?


The Dolphins asked the Cowboys if they are interested in quarterback John Beck, according to the Miami Herald.

Our View:The Cowboys did not answer, and it is clear that Beck is on the trading block, with Chad Pennington the starter and Chad Henne the No. 2 in Miami. Beck would hold no fantasy value in Dallas while backing up Tony Romo.

Dan Reeves: You can't win with distractions, different agendas

by Tim MacMahon

Dan Reeves hasn't officially been hired as a Cowboys consultant, but his thoughts about what went wrong at Valley Ranch are already on the record.

Reeves did an interview with East Texas radio legend David Smoak earlier this month (thanks to DC Fanatic for digging it out of the archives). When asked about the Cowboys' problems this season, he mentioned injuries and a loss of confidence before getting to the heart of the matter.

"They had an awful lot of distractions - things that you don't need to have with a football team, the T.O.s, the Pacman Jones instances," Reeves said. "You say, well, that doesn't really bother us. But it really does, because that's the focus.

Everybody has to answer those questions, and it takes away from the time that you could spend doing something that's productive."

Smoak actually asked Reeves whether he could work for Jerry Jones. Reeves left no doubt that he could, but hinted that some things would have to change for that to happen.

"Oh, gosh, I could work for anybody," Reeves said. "I think you can work with anybody if you get people to work together. That's the thing. You've got to be able to work together. If you've got people going in different directions, then you've got no chance. "

Reeves gave a lengthy answer when Smoak brought up the subject of team chemistry.

"I think you've got to have people with great character first, people who are unselfish, people who can fit into an environment of a football team. If you've got players that all they're thinking about is themselves - how many catches they have or how many pass can they throw or how many runs they're going to have - they're not worried about the bottom line, which is winning football games.

"People with great character, I think, do that. As much as you look for the physical things, they're easy to find. The key is trying to look inside and see what makes a young man tick. Is he a team player? Can you build chemistry around people?

"Yeah, they won't be a problem when you're winning, but as soon as things turn south, you've got a problem on your hands. You want people to be there through the thick and the thin and not be frontrunners."

It certainly doesn't seem like Reeves' hire would be a good sign for folks who want T.O. to return to Valley Ranch next season.


Posted by Mike Florio on January 28, 2009, 5:45 p.m. EST

One of the great things about Radio Row is that the room attracts plenty of people who have access to plenty of NFL rumors.

And though this one isn’t much of a shock, we’ve heard enough to conclude that Dan Reeves will very soon be joining the Dallas Cowboys as a Bill Parcells or Floyd Reese-style consultant.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN first reported the possible move earlier this week.

It doesn’t mean that the Cowboys will fire coach Wade Phillips, especially since Phillips and Reeves have worked together extensively in the past.

It also doesn’t mean that owner Jerry Jones will listen to anything that Reeves has to say, if it conflicts in any way with that which Jones already wants to hear.

NFL Network's Adam Schefter does not believe that Terrell Owens will be a Cowboy in 2009

ESPN's Ed Werder and Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post reported Dallas was seriously considering cutting T.O. earlier this offseason. Schefter isn't reporting it, but seems convinced the other reports have merit. He hinted that Owens' new reality show may not sit well with the Cowboys.

Dan Reeves is expected to join the Cowboys in a "Bill Parcells or Floyd Reese-style consultant," according to

The catch is that owner Jerry Jones runs Dallas' football operations, so he won't have to listen to Reeves if he doesn't like what Reeves says. He no longer appears in the running to be San Francisco's offensive coordinator.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sources: Reeves in talks with Cowboys

By Chris Mortensen

Former NFL coach Dan Reeves has been in discussions with the Dallas Cowboys about a consultant's role, according to sources.

Reeves recently interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers about the offensive coordinator's job but a 49ers source said Monday that Reeves informed them he likely would be taking a consultant position with the Cowboys.

Reeves could not be reached for comment. A Cowboys spokesman said he had no information about Reeves joining the organization.

Reeves, 65, has a history as a former player and assistant coach under Tom Landry. Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips also has served under Reeves previously as a defensive coordinator in both Denver and Atlanta.

In his postseason press conference after the Cowboys had a disappointing finish amidst controversy, Phillips said he would change his coaching methodology. He mentioned that he wanted to consult with veteran coaches like Reeves and Marty Schottenheimer about his leadership approach for the 2009 season.

However, sources said that Reeves has discussed a more significant role with the Cowboys as a paid consultant.

If Reeves joins the Cowboys in some capacity, he also would be reunited with his son-in-law, Joe DeCamillis, who was hired earlier this month as the team's special teams coach.

Cowboys Interested in Signing Ray Lewis: Ravens Willing to Fight

By Perry Green
AFRO Sports Writer

(January 22, 2009) - Rumors have circulated around the NFL that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is interested in signing Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis when his contract expires on Feb. 27.

Jones has a track record of spending whatever amount of money it takes to obtain a big-time player, and there’s already speculation that he’s willing to give Lewis a three-year deal worth nearly $30 million, with $25 million guaranteed.

But fortunately for Baltimoreans, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said he wants to sign Lewis to a new contract, suggesting Lewis might even take a lesser paying contract than others may offer to ensure he finishes his career as a Raven.

“Are we going to get a hometown discount? I hope so. I really do,” Bisciotti told the local media. “That means we can find one more Jimmy Leonhard on the free-agent market with the money we save.”

If Lewis decides to resign with the Ravens for lesser value, he won’t be the only star player who’s made that sacrifice for the benefit of the team.

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady signed a contract extension with his team in 2005 that paid him far less than a few other quarterbacks in the league were being paid so that his team could have more available funds to balance the team out with other quality contributors.

But Bisciotti is aware that Lewis, who’s been the face of the franchise throughout its entire existence, will not settle for less value than what he’s worth.

“Ray is not going to settle for something that he thinks is way below [his market value],” Bisciotti said. “If he wants to go out there and maximize his money and somebody is desperate for that kind of leadership, then there may be a big gap. And I'm not going to say to Oz [general manager Ozzie Newsome], ‘Go do it under any circumstances.’”

Throughout his 13 years in the NFL, Lewis has easily become one of the greatest defensive players in league history, and he continued to produce this season with a total of 117 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

But according to Bisciotti, Lewis’s legacy and value extends beyond his production on the field.
“There are very few people that I know in sports that transcend their statistics, and we had the luxury of watching Cal Ripken simultaneously do the same thing to the Orioles,” Bisciotti said. “I think they bring a sense of continuity and leadership that we’re all looking for. I think Ray has given Baltimore that. I certainly don’t want to see him in another uniform."

Your 2009 Dallas Cowboys: More Glitz; Less Guts

By Richie Whitt
Tuesday, Jan. 27 2009 @ 11:00AM

Since there's nothing to do today other than stay inside and pray for these glaciers of ice to somehow melt by Spring Break, let's take a look at the Cowboys shall we?

Remember what owner Jerry Jones said immediately after his team's 44-6 season-ending loss in Philadelphia? I do.

"Where do we go from here? Everyone, starting here, with me, goes to the woodshed. Everybody goes to the woodshed. Everyone."

One month later, let's assess some of the Cowboys' different interpretations of "woodshed":

*Jerry Jones' woodshed = John Legend's after party.

*And, oh yeah, and Jerry Jones' woodshed = Michael Irvin's new reality show on Spike TV. The show, which has Jerry's blessing, will conclude with a no-name being given a roster spot at Cowboys' training camp. WTF?

*Wade Phillips' woodshed = Firing Brian Stewart and hiring Dan Reeves. Though they're both so much window dressing, hard to argue with either move.

*Martellus Bennett's woodshed = A music video in which he disparages blacks and gays and the English language and, ultimately, himself. Shame.

*Terrell Owens' woodshed = Going to Las Vegas, hosting a Super Bowl party with GQ magazine and agreeing to a reality show in which he will be followed by VH1's cameras. Remember, nobody works harder than T.O. Right?

*Tony Romo's woodshed = Shacking up with a BBW.

So much for remorse, resolve, repentance and re-dedication. You get the feeling that if Hard Knocks or E:60 or Playboy's Girls Next Door or Geraldo Rivera come a callin', the Cowboys will roll out the red carpet. There remains a prevailing theme that high profile is just as important winning record.

Nothing about this off-season hints of a switch to substance over style. Nothing.

In fact, instead of working toward a sixth ring in the trophy case, the Cowboys have merely erected a fourth ring for their circus.

Readers Point to Race as Reason for Cowboys Fans in Redskins Land

By Toni Monkovic

Two readers offered an interesting theory for the number of Cowboys fans in Redskins territory, something that has puzzled us since receiving the data from DirecTV about displaced fans.

A reader named Sam wrote:

I have heard there are so many Cowboy fans in DC for racial reasons. The Redskins were one of the last teams to integrate their teams; the Cowboys were one of the first. So many African-Americans in DC rooted for the Cowboys over the Redskins b/c they are rivals and were on opposite ends of integration.

Another reader wrote:

With regards to the Dallas fans in DC, I was surprised no one mentioned the history of the Redskins. I don’t have the names and date memorized, but I believe it’s something like this. Way back when, one of the past owners of the Washington Redskins was quite a blatant racist. He refused to sign black players, even though the NFL had long since desegregated throughout the league. The Redskins may have even been the last team to have a black player signed.

Among fans, this had two effects. The Redskins became the favorite team in many less progressive Southern areas, which at that time lacked their own pro team (now covered by Carolina). Secondly, the burgeoning African-American population of the DC area didn’t take kindly to this policy. So who to root for? How about the Redskins’ greatest rival? Given the Cowboys’ success through the 70s & 90s, and especially over the Redskins since Gibbs I era ended, that loyalty had no reason to be challenged.

I’ve lived in the DC area nearly all my life (after having been born in Texas, no less) and have also been struck by this situation. As opposed to one individual who thought the numbers could be accounted for by Texans moving up along with ex-President Bush, I can assure you there have been numerous, and very visible, Cowboys fans in DC for many years before W came around.

Many thanks for hearing me out. Again, very surprised no one posted with the above before. I encourage you to verify the details.

Thanks from a Redskins fan in Raiders territory.

Update 7:55 p.m.: KC Joyner, the Football Scientist, chimes in:

George Preston Marshall was the Redskins owner who opposed segregation. There are many stories about this but the most telling one relating to integration is told in Michael MacCambridge’s book “America’s Game”. The gist of the tale is that it took the Kennedy administration threatening potential action against Marshall before he finally capitulated and agreed to integrate the team starting in 1962.

Update, 7:59 p.m.: From the Wikipedia entry on the Redskins:
Marshall continued to refuse to integrate the team, despite pressure from the Washington Post and the federal government of the United States (a typical comment by Post writer Shirley Povich was “Jim Brown, born ineligible to play for the Redskins, integrated their end zone three times yesterday”).

On March 24, 1961, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall warned Marshall to hire black players or face federal retribution. For the first time in history, the federal government had attempted to desegregate a professional sports team. Finally, under threat of civil rights legal action by the Kennedy administration, which would have prevented a segregated team from playing at the new District of Columbia Stadium, as it was owned by the U.S. Department of the Interior and thus federal government property, the Redskins became the final pro football franchise to integrate, in 1962, in their second season in the stadium.

Inside the Numbers: Terrell Owens Myths

by Blair Green
The Sports Keg

When reports surfaced earlier this week suggesting that the Cowboys may cut ties with polarizing receiver, Terrell Owens, Dallas sports conversations heated up. Just like the locker-room, fans are split: those for T.O. and those against T.O.

While both arguments hold some water, they both generally focus on the divisiveness of Owens along the lines of:

Against - "He has a history of destroying organizations..."
For - "T.O. has changed...don't judge him on his past."

Just for a second, let's ignore the fact that Owens has more baggage than Del Griffin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Let's simply focus our attention on T.O.'s on-field production.

Fans like K.B. the Cowboy Homer, a frequent caller on the Ben and Skin show, continue to promote that Owens remains an elite receiver. K.B. has actually perpetuated several T.O. "myths" that need to be debunked:

Myth #1: Owens' year-end stats prove that he is a top-flight receiver.

Let's take a look:

69 catches (22nd in the NFL)
1052 yards (12th...)
65 yards/game (14th...)
15 yards/catch (15th...)
4.2 yards after catch (48th...)
10 Touchdowns (6th...)

Pretty solid numbers and the stats suggest that he might be the 15th-20th best receiver in football. Unfortunately for 'sit-ups-in-my-driveway,' simply looking at year-end numbers doesn't tell the whole story.

Owens had zero 100-yard games through the first 10 games of the season. The "elite" receiver did not even broach the 90-yard mark during that period. Throughout the season, T.O. struggled as each Cowboy opponent pressed him at the line of scrimmage. When did that change? In week 11, when the San Francisco 49ers decided that they were going to play a soft cover-2. Their conservative game-plan allowed Dallas receivers to gain a free release off of the line of scrimmage and provided Owens with space to work.

In that game, Owens caught 7 passes for 213 yards. This was one of two 100-yard receiving games for T.O. during 2008. One of two. In other words, this game was a fluke. The 49ers were the ONLY team that chose not to press Owens at the line of scrimmage. T.O. took advantage. While it was fun to watch, that was not the T.O. that we saw all year. It was the exception...the deviation from the norm...the oddity.

Let's look at Owens' numbers if you remove the 49er-anomaly. For statistical balance, I also excluded his worst statistical performance (2 catches, 17 yards at Green Bay). In other words, throw out his best, throw out his worst and let's see what we get:

14 games
60 catches
822 yards
59 yards/game (27th in the NFL)
13.7 yards/catch (31st...)
9 Touchdowns

So, in 14 of the 16 games, T.O. amassed a very average 57 yards/game. He averaged 13.7 yards/catch. Mediocrity at its best. Which statistics do you believe reflect the "real" Owens? The one game in which the defense backed off? Or the other 15 games in which Owens looked extremely ordinary?

Myth #1...Busted.

Myth #2: As a big-play guy, T.O. consistently threatens opponents with his ability to "break out."

The explosive big-play threat, Owens, totaled six 100-yard games in 2007. In 2008, he produced two. In other words, in 14 games this year, T.O. did not eclipse the century mark in receiving yards. Here is brief list of guys that posted more 100-yard games than Owens:

Andre Johnson (8), Steve Smith (8), Larry Fitzgerald (7), Roddy White (7), Calvin Johnson (5), Greg Jennings (5), Randy Moss (4), Reggie Wayne (4)

I know what you are thinking: 'those are all top-level receivers. There aren't many people that can replicate what guys like Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson bring to the table.' While you are correct, some continue to claim that Owens is an elite I thought it might be interesting to compare him to actual top-flight guys.

But then I decided to lower my standards a bit - Owens is 35 - so I created this list of players that also had more 100-yard games during 2008:

Wes Welker (4), Lance Moore (3), Anquan Boldin (3), Brandon Marshall (3), Steve Breaston (3), Eddie Royal (3), Marques Colston (3)

Again, I know what you are thinking: 'OK, but those guys all play in pass-happy systems. Of course guys like Welker and Marshall will amass extensive yardage.'

- So I created this list of guys that play with unproven quarterbacks and/or in a normal offensive-system, and included their number of 100-yard games:

Antonio Bryant (6), Lee Evans (4), Bernard Berrian (4), Hines Ward (4), Vincent Jackson (3), Santana Moss (3), Braylon Edwards (3), Dwayne Bowe (2), Desmond Mason (2), Isaac Bruce (2), Donald Driver (2), Justin Cage (2), Matt Jones (2), Desean Jackson (2), TJ Houshmandzadeh (2), Mark Clayton (2) and Dennis Northcutt (2)

This seriously made me laugh out loud. T.O. complains about Romo, the 8th-highest rated quarterback in the NFL, and the guys listed above are matching Owens' production with quarterbacks like: Jeff Garcia, Gus Frerotte, Trent Edwards, Jason Campbell, Tyler Thigpen, Joe Flacco, Kerry Collins, Ryan Fitzpatrick and David Garrard.

If only T.O. could play with Ryan Fitzpatrick, he would be great again! Sorry T.O., it's just not that hard to find guys that can produce a couple 100-yard games each season. They are all over the place.

Myth #2...Busted.

Myth #3: People continue to proclaim that Owens "hasn't lost a step" and can "still make plays after the catch."

Facts remain the only item that contradicts this claim. Owens averaged 4.2 yards after-the-catch in 2008. That ranked 48th in the NFL. He doesn't make guys miss. He doesn't "run after the catch." Most of the time, T.O. makes a catch and runs out of bounds or does his best "Bambi" impression. 47 other receivers averaged more yards after-the-catch last year than T.O. I'm not sure that I can even name 47 NFL receivers.

Myth #3...Busted.

It all boils down to this: T.O. had one great game in 2008, a game in which the defense decided to play a soft cover-2. In the other 15 games, Owens was extremely ordinary. Sorry, but "elite" receivers don't produce two 100-yard games. "Elite" receivers don't average 4 yards after-the-catch. "Elite" receivers don't lead the league in drops. At this point in his career, T.O. is much closer to Isaac Bruce and Desmond Mason than Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson... but don't expect K.B. the Cowboy Homer to agree.

AUDIO: Bradie James on The Ticket - 1/26/09

AUDIO: Dan Reeves on - 1/6/09

Dallas tight end Martellus Bennett is quickly becoming a You Tube sensation

Consider those immaturity suspicions affirmed. The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas tight end Martellus Bennett is quickly becoming a You Tube sensation with the recent release of "Marty B TV," wherein the rookie from Texas A&M raps about having "Jerry Jones type money."

Our View: Maybe if Bennett shut his mouth long enough to quit rapping, he'd learn a thing or two from his Pro Bowl teammate, Jason Witten, who reportedly tried reaching out to Bennett this past season, but to no avail.

ESPN: Reeves claimed he was taking a consultant position in Dallas


According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, former NFL coach Dan Reeves has been discussing a potential role as a consultant with the Dallas Cowboys. Reeves recently interviewed for the San Francisco vacant offensive coordinator position, but a 49ers source said Reeves claimed he was taking a consultant position in Dallas. A spokesman for the Cowboys could not confirm that Reeves had, indeed, taken a job with the organization.

Our View: Reeves, 65, was a member of the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl-winning team in 1971 and was an assistant under legendary coach Tom Landry in Dallas during most of the 1970s.

Monday, January 26, 2009

DMN Blog: Babe Laufenberg's five-point plan for fixing the Cowboys

Backup QB-turned-radio color commentator Babe Laufenberg has some advice for Jerry Jones. Babe came up with a five-point plan to clean up the Valley Ranch mess, which he unveiled on Ch. 11's The Score last night.

The five simple steps:

1. Get rid of T.O

2. Form advisory committee for Jerry Jones

3. Hire QB guru for scouting purposes

4. Ride Tony Romo hard

5. Shut down the circus

Cowboys signed DL Tim Anderson and CB Mike Hawkins to futures contracts

Anderson was undersized to play the nose in Buffalo's 4-3 and will even be a bigger misfit for Dallas' 3-4. Hawkins is a practice body for the offseason.

Eight In The Box

By Matt Bowen

Every Friday here at The National Football Post, I bring you a satirical look at the weeks top headlines in the NFL. Today: Brady speaks, Cowboys reality shows, WWE Divas, ‘80s hair bands and more.

EIGHT: The Family Business- New Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels hired his brother, Ben, a 28-year old high school coach, for his new Denver staff. I’m all for helping out your family, but this isn’t the same as asking your brother to help you move some furniture or pick up a case of Bud Heavies. That should be a fun Thanksgiving if the Broncos are already out of the playoff race.

SEVEN: Romo’s Pledge- Cowboys QB Tony Romo told the Dallas Morning News this week that he’s going to be a better team leader next season. Of course he is. That’s like telling your wife that you really watch WWE for the wrestling, not so you can see WWE Divas like Kelly Kelly walking around the ring wearing close to nothing.

SIX: Brady Speaks- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talked to radio station 590 “The Fan” in Toronto this week and reassured everyone that his rehab is going well. Look, Brady is going to make $15 million next year, his girlfriend wears underwear for a living, and your girlfriend would rather date him than you. I think the knee injury is the least of his concerns right now.

FIVE: Smith to Stay: According to the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat, the 49ers want QB Alex Smith to stay with the team. What? Sure, that sounds like a great idea since Smith has been so valuable to the franchise. Folks, I wanted to keep my denim jacket from sixth grade with the Motley Crue iron-on patch, but even I knew when it was time to move on.

FOUR: Don’t Blame the Kicker- After missing two kicks in the NFC Championship game, Eagles place-kicker David Akers told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I’m not going to take the blame for the whole loss here.” Don’t worry, David, you don’t have to take the blame because you play with Donovan McNabb, and he takes the blame for everything in Philly — probably even Joe Carter’s home run in the 1993 World Series.

THREE: No Trade for Boldin- The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Arizona Cardinals have no intention of trading Anquan Boldin. Of course they don’t, because offensive coordinator Todd Haley is the likely candidate to take over in Kansas City. Now the Cards don’t have to worry about Boldin administering a “Rock Bottom” to Haley on the sidelines next year when he tells Haley that he’s taking his ball and going home.

TWO: Big Money Back-up- Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel has no problem taking a back seat to Tom Brady next season, according to ESPN. So let’s get this straight: Cassel has no problem making $14 mil to run the scout team and watch the games on Sundays wearing a visor. Folks, this would be like you or me waking up Sunday in our robes, grabbing some coffee and watching the Patriots game on the couch — and making $875,000 dollars each time we did it.

ONE: Reality Show- Not that the Cowboys aren’t already a real-life reality show, but now Michael Irvin is promoting a new gig where some dude gets to try and win a spot on the Cowboys’ training camp roster. Not that the Cowboys need more drama with T.O., Romo, Jessica Simpson and so on. No word yet if Pacman Jones is one of the contestants.

Player Update: Terrell Owens, WR


The Associated Press reports that Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens will star in his very own reality television series scheduled to air on VH1 this summer.

Our View: VH1 executives said Monday that the show will be based on Owens reassessing his personal life during the offseason with the help of publicists Monique Jackson and Kita Williams.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jason Garrett, "Hard Knocks" and giving Stefan Fatsis his due

Source: NotBillable

Last August, when Fatsis reviewed the HBO series about Cowboys training camp, he wrote: "The most compelling stories, naturally, involve people you've never heard of—veterans on the verge of getting released, rookies struggling to adjust, blowhard coaches taking their jobs way too seriously....We want the speechifying, Princeton-educated Garrett brothers, both offensive coaches, to be drowned in a training-room ice tub." That seemed weird to me at the time. Jason Garrett was so golden.

But wow. Fatsis was on it, right? Because a year after entertaining two head coaching offers, Garrett is now everyone's favorite joke and John Czarnecki thinks it's because of a perception created and fostered by Terrell Owens, the player so beloved by Hard Knocks cameras: "back to the Rams and where T.O. flexed his influence. During the search process, columnists and writers for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch started revealing flaws in Garrett's résumé....when the subject came to players, it was voiced that Garrett had a difficult time coaching black players. That is such a ridiculous assertion, but it gained so much steam in St. Louis that the fans accepted it as fact. On the day that Garrett thought he had a shot at becoming the head coach, the final paragraph in a Post-Dispatch news story was that hundreds of fans called the team's ticket office to complain about a Garrett hiring."

When Hard Knocks spent so much time showing T.O. running then, minutes later, followed it with footage of Garrett's elderly father running, the conflict was already there. HBO was already taking T.O.'s side.

'Bullet' back on target for Hall

By Vito Stellino

More than six years after his death at age 59, Bob Hayes is running what might be his last race in his bid to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Five years after he was rejected as a senior candidate in a move that caused a firestorm of controversy, Hayes, a Jacksonville native, is the fourth player to be nominated a second time by the senior committee.

Two of the previous players, Henry Jordan and Lou Creekmur, were elected on the second try. But the third, Marshall Goldberg, was rejected in 1979 and last year.

That Hayes, the only man to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring, was nominated for the second time in five years is an illustration that he has passionate supporters on the 44-person board of selectors.

The Hall of Fame fate of "Bullet Bob" will be decided in a vote on Saturday in Tampa, the day before Super Bowl XLIII.

"I keep coming back to the question of, 'Can you write the history of the game without him?' He was a key figure because of his speed and the way he changed defenses," said Ira Miller of the SportsXchange, a member of the senior committee. "It was a grave injustice that he was voted down four years ago."

Hayes virtually revolutionized the game because he was so fast that defensive backs couldn't cover him in man-to-man defenses. That evolution spawned zone defenses.

"He'd still be the fastest man in the game today," said Roger Staubach, one of his quarterbacks with the Cowboys, to the Times-Union this week.

Added Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, who will present Hayes to the HOF committee: "What is everybody looking for today? A speed receiver. He was the original speed receiver."

Gosselin also said that he once talked to Hayes about whether Deion Sanders, one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history, could have covered him. Hayes said, "Only one of us has an Olympic gold medal."

Hayes won gold medals in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the 100 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. His relay split of 8.6 seconds earned him the title of the "World's Fastest Human." He also set a world record of 9.1 seconds in the 100-yard dash in 1963 that stood for 11 years.

Still, he was rejected five years ago. His snub so enraged Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated that he resigned from the senior committee and called the members of the HOF committee who voted him down "assassins."

Zimmerman, who is ill and won't be attending this meeting, said at the time, "The assassins don't say anything. They sit there with mouths shut and wield a poison pen. It's terrible."

Hayes' chances should be helped by the fact that the board has been enlarged from 39 to 44 members, so it will take nine "no" votes instead of eight to deny him enshrinement this summer in Canton, Ohio.

Also, the format has changed. This time, the voting for Hayes and the other senior candidate, defensive lineman Claude Humphrey, will be held at the start of the meeting before the other 15 so-called "modern" candidates are considered.

Back in 2004, when the Super Bowl was held in Hayes' hometown of Jacksonville, the senior candidates were included in the voting with the modern candidates. Hayes made the final six and then was rejected.

Hayes has two hurdles to overcome in his bid to enter the Hall - he caught only 371 passes in his career and lacked a signature game in the playoffs.

The selectors tend to put a lot of weight into statistics, which is why Lynn Swann retired in 1982 and wasn't inducted until 2001 despite his circus catches that helped the Steelers win four Super Bowls. Swann only had 336 regular-season catches, the fewest of any receiver in the Hall of Fame. That number delayed his induction despite the fact he was a major figure in leading the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories.

By contrast, Hayes' teams were 1-1 in two Super Bowls and he caught a total of three passes in the two games. He also played in six championship games, including the "Ice Bowl" in 1967 against Green Bay, and caught only eight passes.

Hayes' detractors sometimes note he lined up in the Ice Bowl with his hands in his pants because he was cold. And he had just three catches for 16 yards in the game in which the gametime temperature was minus-13, with a wind-chill factor of 48 below zero.

But Gosselin noted that Hayes caught a touchdown pass for every 5.1 catches. Jerry Rice was one for 7.8 in his career. And Hayes averaged 20 yards a catch, a sign of his big-play ability. Art Monk, who was elected last year and has more catches (940) than any receiver in the Hall of Fame, averaged 13.5 yards a catch.

Dan Reeves, a running back who played with Hayes, said Cowboys coach Tom Landry didn't feature the pass in those days. Staubach only threw 19 passes, completing 12, in a 24-3 rout of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

"Coach Landry didn't get stuck on stats the way a lot of coaches do," Reeves said. "It boiled down to winning the games."

Reeves also said Hayes' presence on the field, even if he didn't catch passes, made a difference because defenses had to respect him

"He opened up holes underneath for the rest of us," he said.

Ernie Accorsi, the former general manager of the New York Giants, was on the Baltimore Colts' staff when they played the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

"I know we were scared of him," Accorsi said. "We rotated to help out the corner covering him. He scared everybody. I think he belongs because he changed the game."

Hall of Fame defensive back Kenny Houston, who covered Hayes and briefed the senior committee, said, "When I was selected [in 1986], I thought Bob Hayes was already in the Hall of Fame. You had to back up 10 yards and then start running [to cover him]."

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, a member of the senior committee, said, "Of all the people not in the Hall of Fame, he's the most deserving."

Not all agree. Peter King of Sports Illustrated said that while he'll go into the meeting with an open mind, he didn't vote for Hayes last time.

"I am unconvinced that Hayes, although a trailblazer, was a singular player in NFL history. And I'm not sure he 'changed the game' much more than Homer Jones [a wide receiver with the New York Giants] did," King said.

He noted that from 1965 to 1969, Hayes caught 252 passes for 4,888 yards and 49 touchdowns while Jones caught 210 passes for 4,763 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, "I go in with an open mind and can be convinced, but it'd take a lot of convincing for me to vote for him."

Neither his supporters nor his detractors mentioned his off-the-field problems with drugs and alcohol and his 10-month prison term after pleading guilty to a charge of delivering drugs to an undercover officer in 1979.

Staubach said he believes Hayes was set up. Hayes said in his biography, Run, Bullet, Run: The Rise, Fall and Recovery of Bob Hayes, that the arrest "destroyed my life."

Staubach hired Hayes to work in his company and said that despite his demons, "Those who knew Bob off the field knew he was a good human being. He was a good person who had some challenges in his life, but he was kind and generous and well-liked."

Off-the-field issues are not supposed to be considered in judging a player for the Hall of Fame.

Hayes said in 1999 that he was always bothered by his Hall of Fame snub.

"There's a lot of pain in my heart because what I accomplished was second to none. I'm not losing any sleep, but I do pay attention [to the voting]every year," he said.

He said being left out made him feel, "like an outcast - like I've been left out and forgotten throughout the nation."

His family hasn't forgotten, and hopes that his second time as a senior candidate will be the charm for Hayes. Westine Lodge, one of his five children, said, "We're very excited. This has been a long time coming. This will be his time to get into the Hall of Fame."

Dallas Cowboys looking for keepers at Senior Bowl


Dallas Cowboys scouting director Tom Ciskowski and his staff found a surprising gem at last year’s Senior Bowl.

The Cowboys got an up-close look at Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice, who was drafted in the fourth round. While he didn’t play a position of need, the Cowboys went with what they felt was the best player available.

The selection of Choice proved vital because of injuries to Marion Barber and first-round pick Felix Jones. With the Cowboys’ past draft history, a future standout could be playing in tonight’s Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

The Senior Bowl has produced Cowboys All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware, 2007 Pro Bowl kicker Nick Folk and Choice over the past four years. Offensive tackle Flozell Adams (1998) and center Andre Gurode (2002) also played in the game.

The Cowboys do not have a first-round pick in the April NFL Draft. However, they will have nine overall selections.

A look at five positions the Cowboys could target in the draft and Senior Bowl prospects at each spot:

Strong safety

William Moore, Missouri (6-1, 230) — Big hitter who makes plays in coverage.

Patrick Chung, Oregon (6-0, 210) — Great run stopper who is highly productive.

Louis Delmas, Western Michigan (5-11, 196) — Physical, but lacks great quickness and his level of competition could be a concern.


ILB Darry Beckwith, LSU (6-1, 232) — Butkus Award finalist built for weakside with solid sideline-to-sideline pursuit.

OLB Clint Sintim, Virginia (6-3, 254) — Was at Virginia with Cowboys tight ends coach John Garrett.

ILB Rey Maualuga, USC (6-2, 260) — Disruptive player who is explosive, but can be overaggressive.

Wide receiver

Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma (6-0, 204) — Stock rising after a standout performance at workouts.

Brian Robiskie, Ohio State (6-3, 199) — Son of Atlanta Falcons receivers coach Terry Robiskie had 19 touchdowns past two years.

Derrick Williams, Penn State (6-0, 194) — Fast and very elusive, was the No. 1 player in the country coming out of high school.

Defensive line

DT B.J. Raji, Boston College (6-1, 323) — Think a bigger version of Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff. He regularly whipped linemen in one-on-one drills.

DE Robert Ayers, Tennessee (6-3, 270) — Has potential but didn’t start until his senior year and had only nine career sacks.

DT Fili Moala, USC (6-5, 295) — Perfect fit for end in 3-4 alignment; a cousin of Baltimore lineman Haloti Ngata.


Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State (6-2, 224) — Back on the radar with a big arm and outstanding athletic ability. If his stock rises, he could move into the second round.

Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (6-2, 217) — Doesn’t have the arm strength or athletic ability of Bomar. Likely a middle-round prospect.

Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas (6-0, 217) — It was hard to stand out in Mobile alongside Bomar and Harrell.

DMN | Harrell ought to be available in fourth round or later

by Tim MacMahon

After the Senior Bowl, it doesn't look like Graham Harrell will be off the board before the point of the draft when the Cowboys want to pick a quarterback.

Based on the reports I read, Harrell had an OK week of practices in Mobile. His performance in Saturday night's game can be summed up with one word: horrible.

Harrell didn't look comfortable with his drops. His passes lacked zip, especially on throws outside the numbers. He severely underthrew a deep ball to an open receiver, resulting in an interception. In other words, the kid who set records at Ennis High and Texas Tech probably confirmed to a lot of scouts that he is the dreaded "system quarterback."

Well, as Tony Romo recently taught us, it's all about finding the silver lining after a quarterback stinks it up. In this case, the silver lining is that Harrell definitely didn't boost his stock, so the Cowboys ought to be able to grab him after addressing more pressing needs than backup quarterback.

I'll admit to being biased in favor of kids I saw play in high school, but I still believe Harrell will be at least a solid NFL backup after a year or two to make the adjustment from the spread to a pro scheme. And he's still better than Brad Johnson right now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009



Tony Romo is saying all the right things these days.

Amid a flurry of criticism in the month since the Dallas Cowboys' humbling in Philadelphia, the quarterback is promising to rededicate himself to his craft and take a more active leadership role in the locker room.
Therein lies the problem.

Romo's not a leader. Never has been. Never will be.

In the NFL, you're judged on your actions, not your words, and Romo's actions the last two seasons suggest he isn't the type capable of putting a team on his back and carrying it to a Super Bowl.

Leaders don't develop. They are born. It's something in the DNA. You either have it, or you don't. After showing little interest in leadership his first couple of seasons, Romo is talking about becoming a better leader now. In this case, talk isn't cheap - Romo signed a $67.5 million contract extension during the season - but it's still just talk.

"I'm definitely going to take a more active approach with that as we move forward from last year to this season,'' Romo told The Dallas Morning News, an apparent reaction to the candid comments of Cowboys legend Troy Aikman, who told former Dallas teammate-turned-radio host Michael Irvin that Romo hasn't fully grasped what being a Cowboys quarterback is all about. That included an ill-fated decision to vacation in Cabo a week before a playoff game in 2007.

He's singing a different tune from the one he sang after the 44-6 drubbing at Philadelphia, which dropped his career record as a starter in December to 5-8. Minutes after his team collapsed on the field, he collapsed in the shower from a rib injury, then offered this explanation of how he dealt with the loss:

"If this is the worst thing that ever happens to me," Romo said, "then I'll have lived a pretty good life."

He might as well have been one of those talentless clowns who audition for "American Idol." It was comical and hurt the ears.

That's what separates Romo from guys such as Aikman, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. They live the game. Losses eat at their intestines for entire offseasons. Romo's comments suggested he was already over the loss.

Aikman offered up no excuses when the Cowboys went 1-15 with him as the starter. And he didn't morph into a superhero when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls. He was the same hard-playing, accountable dude during good times and bad times. Romo's not Aikman. Not even close. And while it's probably not fair to compare the two, Romo opened up the door when he played the leadership card.

Even a defensive player like Ray Lewis, who had off-field problems early in his career, is 10 times the leader Romo is. He doesn't have to make any pronouncements about leadership, because his actions make it clear who's running things in the Baltimore Ravens' locker room.

You rarely see a Ravens player anonymously throwing a teammate or coach under the bus to the media like you've seen in Dallas. It doesn't happen because that player would get his tail kicked (or worse) by Lewis if he was found out.

Romo should do himself a favor and not allow his mouth to write a check that his laid-back demeanor can't cash. Here's what he can do. He can practice harder. He can cut down on the turnovers and allow his defense to dictate games when he's struggling. He can appear more interested when his team is losing, because his body language during some losses was that of a kid who had just lost his dog, as opposed to his giddy, Little League smile during the good times.

And the next time Dallas has a first-round bye in the postseason - if there is a next time - he can save the beach combing with Jessica Simpson for later and show up at Valley Ranch with the look of a focused quarterback intent on a win.

If Romo improves in all of those areas, it will make him a much better Football player, and the Cowboys will end up a much better Football team.

But it still won't make him a leader.

Mailbag: Dave Campo As Defensive Coordinator? Report
January 23, 2009 5:55 PM

VICTOR DRITSELIS, BLACKSBURG, VA: What do you think of Troy Aikman's comments about Tony Romo on Michael Irvin's radio show?

Mickey: That's a pretty broad question. I've heard the answer many times from him previously, so this wasn't like some ground-breaking news. Look, as Bill Parcells used to say, if you win, everything you did was right leading up to the game. If you lose, everything you did was wrong. That trip had nothing to do with winning and losing, except when you lose the perception of not caring is thrown out there and now you have to deal with the consequences.

Rob: For those who haven't read his comments, Aikman emphasized that as the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Romo needs to worry about perception. He referenced Romo's trip to Cabo during the 2007 playoff bye week. Aikman has a point, and here's why: I'm now convinced the Cowboys are the most visible franchise in all of sports, and as we've found out this season, they're an easy target when they lose. As the starting quarterback, Romo will shoulder a lot of that blame -- fair or not. His post-game comments suggested to some that he doesn't care about winning. To me, that's not true at all, but that's the perception. Sometimes he might be better off just playing the media's game.

Josh: The main thing I took from Aikman, and the main thing Romo needs to take, was the "perceptions do matter" statement. It's nice that Romo can sit there after the game and pretend that it doesn't bother him all that much to lose, but I can't help but believe it really does. Better to say the right things in that situation, as Aikman always did, than to say the things that make you feel better about yourself.

STEVE KELLY, GILBERT, AZ: With an opening at defensive coordinator, wouldn't it be a no-brainer to put Dave Campo in that position? Obviously Jerry Jones thinks a lot of him to bring him back as secondary coach.

Mickey: Yep, to me that's the no-brainer I can see the Cowboys making, especially if head coach Wade Phillips is going to continue having a heavy hand in the defensive scheme and play calling. Campo is a respected and trusted hand. Why not?

Rob: That would seem a natural fit, also because the Cowboys already have an assistant secondary coach (Brett Maxie) who could slide into Campo's current role. Don't forget defensive line coach Todd Grantham also has NFL coordinator experience. But the Cowboys also could look outside the organization. Unfortunately, Wade Phillips didn't offer any insight when we asked him at the Senior Bowl.

Josh: Yes, it would seem this opening would be filled from within, either by Campo or defensive line coach Todd Grantham, both of whom have been coordinators in the NFL before. We all know Wade Phillips is going to run the defense, so the job is mostly a clerical one, and maybe taking a bigger role in meetings and game plans. Still, it will be Wade running the ship. At this point we haven't heard of anyone coming to interview for the job, so the guess is they're starting with the in-house folks.

Is It Already Too Late for Cowboys QB Romo To Change His Ways?

Posted by Matt Loede under Dallas Cowboys, Off the Cuff

He wants to be a leader on the most focused in on team the National Football League. But for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, is it already too late? After all, Romo is a player that has faced numerous perceptions about being a player that is known more for his dating life and vacation habits than known for being a team leader. Let’s all remember that this is the same guy that spent the bye week before the divisional playoff game last season in Cabo San Lucas with cover girl Jessica Simpson and good pal Jason Witten.

Then Romo and the rest of his teammates went out as the number one seed in the conference and laid an egg to division rival New York. Then there was the injury this past season that sat him down for a couple of tough weeks, and when he came back the team simply never reached that level that many thought they would. The Cowboys were maybe the biggest failure of the 2008 season for being a team with a load of talent, but falling one game short of the playoffs.

How much of that failure is due to Romo?

I would have to say that at this point of his career, Romo and the Cowboys should be further ahead. The QB last season threw for 3448 yards and 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Sure he again had the injury to his pinkie finger, but at the same time, with the talent around him, Romo was not able to get this team in the playoffs, something that he was given a monster contract to do.

In the seasons final blowout loss to the Eagles, Romo was 21-for-39 for 183 yards with a pick. He threw five touchdowns and six interceptions in the teams final four games as they were trying to do whatever they could to make it to the postseason. Instead, losses to the Ravens in the final game at Dallas Stadium and in Philly to the Eagles started an offseason of “what if.”

Romo then went a little further to put his football life in question when he said some rather head scratching comments after the loss to the Eagles. “If I’m never going to win the Super Bowl, I’ll be content in life. I’ll be disappointed because that’s what I wanted to do,” Romo said. “At that same point, it’s not going to be something that makes me a better human being. I think I’m going to work very hard to try to obtain those goals. But I’m not going to pretend to say that that’s what life’s all about either.”

Right now with Simpson by his side, it doesn’t seem like that is what life is ever going to be about for Romo, which is why the Cowboys very well may never reach their potential with him under center. Now this past week with more firestorm from former Cowboys QB Troy Akiman questioning his play, Romo has tried to put water on the fire with talk that in 2009 he’ll be more of a leader.

“I think leadership sometimes comes with your ability to perform and your personality,” Romo said. “And some of it comes with experience. In a lot of ways, I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve gained experience. I’m definitely going to take a more active approach with that as we move forward from last year to this season, I’ll be very excited to get back out there and be with the guys and figure out a way to improve and get better and do the things we need to do to win. Period.”

But again, is it already to late for this gun slingin party boy with the high profile girlfriends to turn it around? 2009 may give us the final answer to that question.

Owens content with Romo, team

Dallas receiver is calm amid rumors of release

Terrell Owens apparently isn’t sweating reports the Dallas Cowboys are considering cutting him.

The wide receiver also doesn’t seem to mind that quarterback Tony Romo declined to talk about him in a recent interview with a Dallas newspaper.

In a brief courtside chat with TNT during Thursday night’s Lakers-Wizards game in Los Angeles, Owens professed his affection for Romo and seemed confident his future includes at least another season with the Cowboys.

“Oh, that’s my boy,” Owens said of Romo. “We’re good. Obviously, there were some things said during the course of the season, but that’s my boy.

“We’re going to try to get this thing back on track and bring a championship to Dallas.”

The Cowboys signed Owens to a four-year, $34 million extension in June 2008 that could potentially keep him in Dallas through 2011. But ESPN and other media outlets have reported the team is considering releasing him before his $3.1 million roster bonus is due in June, an action that would mean he would count $680,000 more against the 2009 salary cap than the nearly $9 million he is scheduled to count should he remain on the roster.

Owens, 35, recorded his third-straight 1,000-yard season with the Cowboys in 2008.

But his 69 receptions were the fewest he’s had in a full season since 2000 and he logged just two 100-yard receiving games while struggling to beat coverage.

Owens also feuded with Romo and tight end Jason Witten after he claimed Romo threw too often to Witten.

In an interview this week with the Dallas Morning News, Romo declined to answer questions about his relationship with Owens.

“Haven’t we been through that already?” the newspaper quoted Romo as saying.

Cowboys seek gem for draft

By RICK HERRIN McClatchy Newspapers
Published: 1/24/2009 2:25 AM
Last Modified: 1/24/2009 2:25 AM

Dallas Cowboys scouting director Tom Ciskowski and his staff found a surprising gem at last year's Senior Bowl.

The Cowboys got an up-close look at Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice, who was drafted in the fourth round. While he didn't play a position of need, the Cowboys went with what they felt was the best player available.

The selection of Choice proved vital because of injuries to Marion Barber and first-round pick Felix Jones. With the Cowboys' past draft history, a future standout could be playing in tonight's Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

The Senior Bowl has produced Cowboys All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware, 2007 Pro Bowl kicker Nick Folk and Choice over the past four years. Offensive tackle Flozell Adams (1998) and center Andre Gurode (2002) also played in the game.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cowboy Draft Prospect: Ron Brace, DT

Ron Brace Defensive Tackle | Senior | Boston College
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 324 | 40-Time: 5.30

Excellent size and bulk...Very quick off the snap...Great strength...Is stout at the point of attack...Does a terrific job against the run...Gets a good push up the middle...Will collapse the pocket...A powerful tackler...Shows the ability to shoot gaps and penetrate at times...Nice instincts / awareness...Lots of experience...Improving and has upside.

Not a sack artist and repertoire of pass rush moves is limited...Does not always play with proper leverage...Still needs to use his hands better...Will get hung up on blocks...Conditioning and stamina might be issues...Has an inconsistent motor...Didn't face many double teams.

Was a three-year starter for the Eagles...Named 2nd Team All-ACC as a senior...Was overshadowed by teammate B.J. Raji and certainly benefited from playing next to such a talented player but is a fine pro prospect in his own right...The type whose value can't be measured by the stat sheet...Had a great senior campaign and really improved his draft stock...Two-gapper with the potential to be a top 3-4 nose tackle.

DMN Blog: Cowboys don't have to draft a DE to replace Chris Canty

3:05 PM Thu, Jan 22, 2009

Based on a recent conversation with his agent, the odds of Chris Canty playing for the Cowboys next season are slim.

That leaves a pretty large hole at right defensive end, but that doesn't mean the Cowboys need to draft a player at that position. They always have the option of using Jay Ratliff as an end in their base defense.

Ratliff made it clear during training camp, when the Cowboys were tinkering with using him at end, that he'd rather stay at nose tackle. Then he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in his first full season as a starter. But there's little doubt that Ratliff could be an impact DE, and he's not the kind of guy who would create problems if the Cowboys decide to go in that direction.

Of course, then they'd have to replace Ratliff at NT. If you watch the Senior Bowl, keep an eye on Boston College's Ron Brace (6-3, 324), a run-stuffer who might make sense for the Cowboys in the second round.

Player Update: Great News On Witten, No Surgery Needed...

Jason Witten will not need offseason surgery after battling ankle, ribs, and shoulder injuries in 2008.

He will play in the Pro Bowl. Witten finished with 81 grabs for 952 yards while playing hurt for half of last year. A healthy offseason and Tony Romo returning at 100% bode well for Witten's 2009 outlook as an easy top-three TE1.

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cowboys seen as 9-1 shot to win the Super Bowl In 2010..

By LARRY DiTORE Bloomberg News

The New England Patriots, who failed to make the National Football League playoffs this season, are favored to win the Super Bowl next year by Las Vegas oddsmakers.

The Patriots, with former Most Valuable Player Tom Brady’s probable return at quarterback after a knee injury sidelined him for most of the season, are 6-1 favorites to win the NFL championship on Feb. 7, 2010, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which advises casinos on betting lines. The team was undefeated last season until losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
The Texans are a 40-1 shot for the title.

“The Patriots coming into this year were overwhelming favorites based on what they did last year,” said Mike Seba, Sports Consultants’ senior oddsmaker. “They’re going to have pretty much the same team as long as Brady comes back, so they should be the favorites again.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who are 6.5-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, are second to New England for next year’s game at 7-1. The Giants and Indianapolis Colts are 8-1.

The Patriots this season became only the second team in NFL history to miss the playoffs after finishing with an 11-5 record. Brady was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury in the team’s opener in September.

Matt Cassel filled in and threw for 3,693 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, as the Patriots narrowly missed the postseason. New England won three of the past seven Super Bowls with Brady at quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys have 9-1 odds to win the 2010 Super Bowl, while the Baltimore Ravens, who lost to the Steelers in the American Football Conference championship game, are 11-1. The Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans, all playoffs teams this season, have 12-1 odds.

DMN: Dallas Cowboys' owner should bet on ex-Bronco Shanahan

by Tim Cowlishaw
10:59 PM CST on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mike Shanahan has replaced Wade Phillips as a head coach before. Clearly, it's time for him to do it again.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can put to bed all these tales of woe at Valley Ranch with one easy hiring. All the talk of loose discipline, of in-fighting between teammates, between players and coaches, all the stuff that sounds so crazy and in some cases so irrelevant can be shoved aside.

Shanahan may have just exhausted his stay in Denver, but when it comes to the Cowboys, Shanahan is change you can believe in.

Here's why the Cowboys can't continue with the Wade Phillips era.

Thirteen years and 13 NFC teams. That's what the NFC championship, once a regular playground for your Cowboys, now represents.

It has been 13 seasons since the Cowboys played in an NFC title game. That's the longest streak in club history. The previous longest was nine years – Tom Landry's last six seasons and Jimmy Johnson's first three.

Landry's teams had played in a remarkable 12 NFL or NFC title games in 17 years (1966 through 1982) before the drought hit.

Now, it has been 13 seasons under five head coaches, which immediately tells you the problem has more to do with Jones than the coaches themselves.

Barry Switzer's last two years, followed by two with Chan Gailey, three with Dave Campo, four with Bill Parcells and two with Phillips have failed to produce a single trip to an NFC Championship Game.

Meanwhile, 13 other NFC teams have played in an NFC title game since Dallas' last one. Only Detroit and Washington have been away from the game longer than the Cowboys.

Let an experienced and proven coach like Shanahan clean house. Tell him he needs to keep Jason Garrett for one more year as offensive coordinator and then decide if he wants to go a different direction.

Let Shanahan and Garrett decide what to do about Terrell Owens.

Now that Jones has forced Phillips to get rid of the two coordinators he was allowed to hire – Brian Stewart on defense, Bruce Read on special teams – let Shanahan figure out which way to go on those two fronts.

Shanahan is exactly the kind of experienced and successful coach Jones could actually work with. It wouldn't work for long any more with coaches as headstrong as Johnson or Parcells.

It wouldn't work with Bill Cowher, either, and I'm not even sure where Jon Gruden fits on the "head coaches you want to hire" rankings.

Shanahan knows about getting teams to championship games. He has endured a rough last three seasons in Denver with a team spinning its wheels and going 24-24. Prior to that, as offensive coordinator of the 49ers and head coach of the Broncos, Shanahan coached in NFC or AFC Championship Games six times in 14 years.

He earned three Super Bowl rings.

He has an understanding of what it takes to win and he proved it over a long and largely successful run in Denver. And unlike some who would question his hiring, I can't imagine Shanahan is incapable of trying to win with larger offensive linemen than he was used to deploying in Denver.

Unless Jones truly believes that "all publicity is good publicity" and he thinks the stories coming out of Valley Ranch for two months now are helping him sell tickets to his new stadium, then Jones knows it's time for major fundamental change at the top.

Or at least as close to the top as Jones will allow any coach to get.

Asking Phillips to get rid of his coordinators doesn't accomplish much. Asking Phillips, at age 61, to change his coaching style and personality is impossible.

Whatever you want Phillips to be in terms of a ruthless dictator, he isn't going to be that guy. Besides, the manner in which Jones has been at the top of all real decision-making since Parcells left the building doesn't allow for that to happen.

The good vibe Phillips and his more player-friendly coaching staff brought after Parcells lasted for one regular season. It was gone by the time the Cowboys lost to the Giants in the playoffs, and 2008 was an outright disaster.

The 2009 season doesn't have to keep going in that direction. A good, proven coach is ready to take over.

All Jones has to do is make that splash during Super Bowl week that he so dearly loves.

And then – for a time, anyway – the nonsense can disappear.